Preservation at BnF: policy, laboratory, and sites

Throughout its history, the Library has developed techniques appropriate to its preservation responsibilities. Alongside traditional curative care and binding, new activities have been added: prevention and preservation, staff training and awareness-raising, digitization, research, and technology monitoring.
BnF’s laboratory enables a truly scientific approach by developing methods for analyzing materials and the ways in which they age and degrade.
Activities are spread across four distinct sites, coordinated within the Preservation department by a central team based at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).

BnF’s collection care policy: preservation and conservation

Preservation packaging

Preservation packaging

The aim of this policy is to prevent degradation and prolong document life spans.

Various types of direct and indirect action contribute to the achievement of this goal:
  • binding new books and periodicals
  • packaging fragile documents 
  • media transfers, micrography and digitization, and publishing substitute documents for consultation 
  • drawing up and monitoring an emergency plan for collections 
  • environmental monitoring, scientific research, and standardization 
  • carrying out surveys of collections and their condition and monitoring collections
  • staff training and reader education
Analyses en laboratoire

Conditionnement de conservation

Regular maintenance of collections: cleaning, dusting, and repairing minor degradation to prevent it from becoming more serious.

If documents published 30 or 40 years ago are deacidified as soon as the first signs of acidification appear on their paper, this slows the spread of physicochemical degradation and thus avoids the need to make use of complex and expensive processes.

The Library is gradually putting in place a permanent organizational approach to dealing with exceptional damage of all kinds. This emergency plan covers all sites and provides for the implementation of specific measures. Information on this subject is communicated to staff via the Library’s intranet. Staff training ensures that plenty of teams of skilled and willing staff of all levels are available in the event of an incident.

BNF Preservation Charter

This charter outlines the strategic orientations and objectives of the BNF's (National Library of France) preservation policy.

It enables the development of the scientific, technical, organizational and material conditions for its implementation, conditions which vary according to the state of research and of legislation. It incorporates the recommendations of the Charter for preservation in libraries written under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, in various forms which are adapted to the specific features of the BnF.

It forms the basis of a hierarchical programme of preservation initiatives which reflect the condition of the collections, their use and their values.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016